Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Principlaity of Morea-Army History and Organisation


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History of the Modern Morean Army 1675-1739

Andronicus II
Up to the 1675 reforms of Andronicus II the army of the principality of Morea was made up of some permanent elements, and than semi-feudal forces and foreign mercenaries. The permanent elements or the Oikiakon corps was made up of the Janissary guard orta created in 1517, a regiment of Hungarian cavalry created in the 1550s, and the two permanent mercenary regiments of pike and shot, the Vaggaron and Latinikon both created in 1599. The rest of the army was made up of ad-hoc formations of Albanian and Greek warbands, specializing in skirmishing, light Sipahi and Pronoia cavalry, and regiments of Italian or Balkan mercenaries rented for a campaign period. The artillery arm was also rudimentary.
Andronicus II reformed the army in 1675. He expanded the permanent force with the creation of 5, one battalion, territorial regiments raised by conscription of 1 out of 50 men and volunteers, and 1 naval marine’s regiment of 2 battalions. These where trained to fight in the western manner. The regiments where raised from specific areas of the principality and at peace time where posted there. The regiments where The Old Regiment raised out of Mystra itself, the Maniaton raised from the Greeks of Mani and Monevasia, the Arkadon raised from the Greeks and Slavs of Arkadia and Tripoli, the Albanikon raised from the Albanians of the area around Patra, and the Nafplioton raised from Nafplio and Argolida. The marine regiment, Pezonauton was primarily raised from the Ionian dominions of the Prince. The Prince, also did away with the adhoc formations of Sipahis and Pronoia clavary, and created a regiment of Anatolian Sipahis raised from his Muslim subjects , and one of Greek lancers. He also raised two regiments of dragoons from German and Italian immigrants.


Princess Maria Louisa

This army co-existed with the ad-hoc Greek and Albanian war-bands, up to the great 1680-1686 rebellion. Maria-Louisa smashed the ad-hoc element and destroyed it, forcing most war-bands to enter permanent service as armatoli militia paid and belonging to the Prince. At that time, she changed the Hungarian Guard Cavalry regiment to a Cuirassier regiment. She also expanded the Janissary Orta and dragoon regiments. At about that time the uniforms and tactics of the army emulated those of France, except for the Anatolian and Hungarian regiments, and the armatoli that kept an exotic dress.
Michael II in Western Dress (from a painting by Van Dyck)

The next great change came during the reigns of Michael II and Theofilia. Michael III changed the coat colors of his infantry from Bourbon white to the current yellow-brown. He also added a new territorial regiment, raised in Apulia, the Duca di Apulia. Furthermore he raised a Huguenot, the La Rochelle regiment, from protestant refugees from France and Hungary and an Irish regiment, Keltikon, from Irish immigrants. Finally he formed a robust artillery train and raised the Pezonauton regiment to 3 battalions. At that era, The Hungarian cavalry regiment and the Nafplioton infantry regiments took black as their color in mourning of the death of Michaels son, Basil, who had died leading these units at the Battle of Bari on 23rd April 1709.
During Theofilias early reign, Carl XII during his 3 year sojourn in the principality made major changes to the uniform and tactics of the army. First he divided the infantry into Territorial and Foreign elements. He introduced the Swedish uniform to the non-catholic foreign regiments (Vaggaron, La Rochelle) and a French uniform pattern to the catholic (Duca di Apulia, Keltikon) and a Russian patterned one to the orthodox regiments (Territorial). Theofilia decided to give a Swedish uniform also to the Latinikon regiment as a sing of her affection for Carl. Also the Vaggaron regiment took the blue and yellow coat colors of Sweden. Carl also created two squadrons of hussars for the Hungarian cavalry, and introduced Swedish dress for the Dragoons. Theofilia resisted changes to the colors of the uniforms, which remained the same as in Maria-Louisa’s army. Carl also introduced Swedish tactics to the army.
Theofilia later raised three more territorial regiments in 1718, the Ellinikon, raised from Greeks of Agean holdings, the Attikon raised from Greeks and Vlachs of Attika, and the Halkidaion, raised from Euboea. In preparation for the War of Polish Succession she also took into permanent service a Swiss Regiment, the Elbeton. She also had the territorial regiments retrained to fire-power tactics, while keeping Swedish tactics for the foreign regiments. Currently the Principality is fielding two field armies. One in Apulia, and the other in Attica.
The current (1739) strength and postings of the army are given in the table below
Jannisary Orta
350 men in 2 Ortas
Mystra 350
Princely Guard
The Old Regiement
1 Battalion 650 men
Mystra
Princely Guard
Hungarian Calvary
1 Squadron Cuirassiers 100 men, 2 Hussars 150 men
Cuirassier Squadron at Mystra, 2 Hussar Squadrons in Apulia
Princely Guard
Pezonauton
3 Battalions 1500 men
1 Battalion at Monevasia, 1 Battalion at Bari, 1 Battalion dispersed in the fleet.
Marine Regiment
Maniaton
2 Battalions of 650 men 1300 men
1 at Monevasia
1 at Taranto
Territorial, Army of Apulia
Arkadon
2 Battalions 650 men 1300
1 at Tripoli
1 at Attica
Territorial, Army of Attica
Albanikon
1 Battalion 650 men
At Attica
Territorial, Army of Attica
Attikon
1 Battalion 650 men
At Attica
Territorial, Army of Attica
Nafplioton
1 Battalion 700 men
At Nafplio
Territorial
Halkidaion
1 Battalion 700 men
At Attica
Territorial, Army of Attica
Ellinon
1 Battalion 700 men
At Corfu
Territorial
Vaggaron
2 Battalions of 600 men, 1200 men
2 Battalions at Corfu
Foreign
Latinikon
2 Battalions of 500 men, 1000 men
1 Battalion at Apulia, 1 at Cephalonia
Foreign, Army of Apulia
Duca du Apulia
2 Battalions of 450 men, 900 men
1 at Apulia, one at Taranto
Foreign, Army of Apulia
Keltikon
1 Battalion 700 men
At Messinia
Foreign
La Rochelle
1 Battalion 580 men
At Apulia
Foreign, Army of Apulia
Elbeton
1 Battalion 700 men
At Apulia
Foreign, Army of Apulia
Andronicus Lancers
500 men
At Attica
Army of Attica
Sipahi Lancers
500 men
At Apulia
Army of Apulia
Michael Dragoons
2 Squadron of 150 men, 300 men
At Apulia
Army of Apulia
Constantine Dragoons
2 Squadrons of 150 men, 300 men
At Attica
Army of Attica
Current Artillery Numbers: Siege Train 20 18pounder guns, Field Artillery 30 8 pounders, Battalion guns 15 4 pounders. Army of Apulia: 15 Siege, 15 Field, 9 Battalion. Army of Attica: 5 Siege guns, 10 fields, 6 Battalion. The rest are in reserve in Mystra.
Army Strength 1739: 13580 Infantry and 2050 calvary, plus 500-1000 amartoli

Princely Flag. Every regiment carries one such flag.
Recruitment:
The soldiers of the principality are recruited primarily by a volunteer system supported by conscription. Volunteers take up the colors for up to 10 years, with the ability to rise to the rank of captain. Conscripts are brought in to fill up battalions and serve for a maximum of 5 years. They are also taught an art or craft, as well as reading and writing as compensation for their conscription. Those conscripts, who after finishing their tour of duty, wish to remain, can do so for another ten years. Same goes for volunteers.
Veterans of war and invalids receive a small pension, as well as if they want to, a plot of land or fishing boat.
Soldiers of the Territorial regiments must be Orthodox or Catholic (Unites), and come form the home area of the regiment.
Soldiers of the Foreign regiments must be Protestant for the Vaggaron and La Rochelle, and Catholic for the Duca di Apulia, Keltikon, and Latinikon. The Swiss regiment’s composition is left to the contracting Cantons.
The only special cases are the Janissary orta, Sipahi lancers, and the Hungarian Calvary units of the Princely Guard. The Janissary orta is a hereditary unit raised from the Egyptian expatriates of Morea. All members must either be Bektashi Muslims or become so on entrance. Janissaries serve for 30 years. The Sipahi lancers are raised from the Muslim population of the principality and serve for 10 years. This is the only service required of them. Brave or smart Sipahis might be inducted in the Jannisay Orta, if they wish so. The Hungarian Calvary is raised by Hungarian expatriates, to which later where added Poles. Troopers serve for 20 years as well.
All soldiers take a sacred oath to obey the Prince or Princess of Morea. They also spill wine on the ground as a sing of consummating their oath. This older, pagan ritual is used to signify the fact that their oath is not to their gods but to the Prince or Princess.
The tactical doctrine of the principality relies on the three regiment brigade. A foreign regiment is brigaded with two territorial regiments. They all then march to firing range with the enemy. All three fire two volleys. Then the Foreign regiment charges forward, while the two territorial regiments continue firing. If it breaks the enemy the foreign regiment holds its ground and covers the advance of the territorial regiment. If it fails, it falls back under cover of the territorial regiment’s fire. The territorial regiments will charge only to support the foreign regiment if it is caught in a melee, attacking earthworks, or in danger of annihilation. This tactical doctrine has lead to a higher number of Grenadiers in the foreign regiments (at least 1/5th of the men) than in the territorial regiments (1/10th of the men). The territorial regiments fire by platoon. The Foreign regiments by volley.
Calvary tends to attack using cold steel, with hussars and lancers used also for harassing and scouting.
To follow is a unit by unit look at the army.


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5 comments:

Herzog Ignaz said...

Good stuff. Quite an oecumenical force Her Orthodox Highness commands. I especially like the caesaropapist implications of the libation as part of the loyalty oath.

You may find it useful, going forward, to keep most of the content of posts like these on your own blog, with a short teaser and link posted on the E-vs-E blog, so that comments don't get split up between the two sites.

That makes it easier to follow comments and avoids duplicate questions and so forth.

Capt Bill said...

Herzog Ignaz,
Very diplomatically put!

Konstantinos Travlos said...

Thank you for the advice.

abdul666 said...

Full of depth and character, an excellent combination of likelihood and originality. Obviously a work of love and dedication, and fully successful: rich and so consistent with the nature and history of the country.
Compliments,
Jean-Louis

abdul666 said...

Great stuff!
Can't wait to discover the individual unit's 'profiles' and uniforms.

From a very personal p.o.v. I feel like carried back some 30 years, when fully discovering the histories and armies of the Eastern Roman and Byzantine Empires... thanks!

Jean-Louis